Looking at the time frame of this text, a Roman soldier could compel a Jewish man or boy to carry his backpack or armor for one mile, this was a Roman law that caused resentment among the Jews toward the Romans. This was a burden on the Jews, but refusal would surely bring nothing good. Can you imagine how the Jews felt when Jesus said, “Go the second mile?” No doubt some murmured, “He must be kidding, does he really expect us to do more than the law requires us to do?”
Remember Simon of Cyrene, who was compelled to bear Jesus’ cross on his way to Calvary. I believe that Christians are required to live in the second mile. Are you committed to living in the second mile. Notice, the text says, “Whosoever shall compel thee.” If a neighbor, co-worker, or church member asks us to do a certain thing, we should do twice or more than expected. Most Christians live in the first mile, e.g.: 1) To love your neighbor is the first mile, but to love your enemy is the second mile. 2) To bless those who bless you is the first mile, but to bless those who curse you is the second mile. 3) To do good to those who do good to you is the first mile, but to do good to those who hate you is the second mile. 4) Praying for those who pray for you is the first mile, but praying for those who despitefully use you is the second mile.
What does it mean living in the second mile? It means to rise above the instinctive desire to, ‘strike back,’ ‘get even’ or ‘settle the score,’ and to meet evil with good. It means to swallow pride and abandon self-interest. It means to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Jesus went the first mile when He left Heaven, and clothed Himself in human flesh. He went the second mile, all the way to the cross to be our sin bearer and die for you and me. Let the life and word of Jesus Christ compel each of us to walk the second mile.
My weekly prayer is for the reader of this commentary to be spiritually inspired of God. Become a Prayer Partner with EOF. Contact Expressions of Faith Ministry at P.O. Box 330127, Nashville, Tenn. 37203; or e-mail <email@example.com>. God bless!